(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) Containers will continue to be the core element of the international exchange of goods. For no other form of cargo transportation have such levels of continuous growth over decades been recorded. A container ship is never entirely finished: On many occasions during its life cycle, modifications have to be made to adapt it to new market conditions. On the other hand, the challenges facing us as the 2020 sulphur cap and many additional environmental regulations draw nearer are unlike any we have dealt with since container shipping began. When planning newbuilding projects, the question whether to opt for scrubbers, distillate fuels or LNG is difficult to answer.
Meanwhile the trend towards bigger ship sizes continues. The first vessels in the 23,000 TEU category are now being built, and major owners are increasing their capacity by lengthening or widening existing vessels. Economies of scale are a strong argument, and ports are investing to accommodate these huge ships.
The logistics infrastructure of terminals is a key factor to ensure a smooth flow of goods, but the hinterland is not always adequately prepared to handle the sudden peak loads from very large container ships. The industry must weigh its options to find sustainable solutions. Where economies of scale reach their limits, getting the most out of a vessel’s carrying capacity enhances the operational profitability.
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